Changing a school requires a lot of challenging conversations, often involving the whole staff. But if the staff don’t know how to conduct a meeting properly, it’s impossible to have those conversations. So many of our meetings have been dominated by a few loud voices, no one took turns and the female teachers in particular sat silently throughout the meetings.
To change that, I recently ran a staff training session called, ‘Murder Hunt’. It’s a way to develop some rules about how to conduct a meeting. It’s something I’ve done often with students in the UK – have a look here to see how it works.
The teachers loved it – and almost solved the murder! – and out of it we developed three rules for our meetings:
- Everyone be willing to speak.
- Everyone listen and respect each other’s views
- Put your hand up to speak (the chairperson will decide the order of speaking)
The other problem we have faced is that some of our teachers don’t know our students’ names, including students they teach everyday. So we played a little game, where we showed them photos of students and asked them to write down their names. I was happy to see most teachers, knew most of the students’ name, but it was a fairly non-confrontational way to nudge those who don’t know students’ names, to learn them quickly.
Teaching is about relationships, and if you don’t know someone’s name, you can’t have a relationship with them.